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An afternoon with Betony Vernon

Playboy Magazine

1 mai 2019

Photography feature accompanying an Interview of Betony Vernon.

On a gray and rainy day in the bustling heart of the Marais, I find myself bound to Betony Vernon. This is not a figurative statement. The American-born, Paris-based designer, clad in black satin, with her fiery red hair cascading over her shoulders, has slipped a small gold ring on my finger; the ring is attached to a chain leading to a bracelet on her milky white wrist

“I want you to feel what it does to us,” she says, her voice husky and low.

Vernon has made a name as a self-described “sexual anthropologist” by honing in on the pleasure that we embrace and deny. The daughter of a civil-rights activist and an inventor, she grew up along the Appalachian Trail and moved to Europe in 1990, after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University. In Florence, she taught jewelry and metalsmithing for Fuji Studio Workshop; from there she decamped to Milan, where she obtained her Masters in Industrial Design and founded her first atelier. Soon she was appointed Design Director for Fornasetti, the legendary Italian house. Married to Barnaba Fornasetti, son of Piero, for over 10 years, the now single—and singular—Vernon resides in Paris, upstairs from Eden, her private playground and sanctuary.

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